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Galactic Civilizaions III - Vertical

By now you should have version 1.9 which is easily the biggest update to the game since its original release.

When I joined the GalCiv III team last month, I did a thorough inventory of the code base and decided to focus on 3 things:

1. The AI
2. The Performance
3. The memory use


## Results ##
The result was 1.9. I've seen a lot of feedback on it. Mostly good. There's some complaints that the galaxy sizes are a little smaller. This is true, I did make them a bit smaller but I made the number of stars and planets available much much higher. In response, we are going to restore the absolute largest sized galaxy. I just personally don't like the pacing and didn't think others would care if I made the absolute size smaller if I was giving them more planets to play on. Clearly I was mistaken. It's no sweat to increase the largest sizes.

 

## Whining ##
Some people have contacted us to complain about how much I've been complaining about the game and that I am hurting the game's reputation by complaining.

First, let me say that we are grateful that our fans love the game so much that they want to defend it from me.

Second, Galactic Civilizations has been part of my life for over 20 years. I wrote the OS/2 versions back in the 90s and designed GalCiv I and GalCiv II and wrote their AIs. So I do care very much about GalCiv.

Third, just because "other games" have bad AI doesn't excuse GalCiv III from having bad AI. It was unacceptable and had to be improved -- a lot. On larger maps, I would go as far as to say the AI was just plain broken. It couldn't effectively expand beyond a certain point.

The issue with non-expanding AIs is a scourge on the 4X game development community. It has to do with turn performance. The reason most of these 4X game AIs are terrible is because of perf concerns versus what is considered "good enough".

But we live in an age where people 4+ CPU cores. The AI should be doing your taxes while crushing you. So while the 1.9 AI doesn't do your taxes, it does make a lot of use of your CPU cores.

Those playing the game no doubt noticed the pretty massive perf differences. I didn't optimize anything. I just made the game use your hardware a lot better.

 

## Words and Deeds ##

I thought it pretty important that 1.9 get out before Christmas. Last month I wrote out a litany of complaints about the game. But talk is cheap. I wanted the players to know that we weren't just aware of things we could improve but that we could address them quickly.


## What's next? ##
There is more to do. Some of the memory optimizations resulted in some changes to the way lighting is handled so we need to make some aesthetic changes. Not a big deal but needs to be done.

I want to get the Administration feature in. Just not sure the best way to do it that doesn't require a ton of UI work.

 

## The upcoming expansion ##

The big expansion people have been waiting for is about 75% done now.

It will be handled as a DLC mainly because people threw a fit when we made the Ashes of the Singularity expansion a stand-alone and we don't want to go through that again. So we'll figure out some way to take what is, essentially, a new game and make it DLC.

Broadly speaking:
- Espionage
- Interactive Invasion system with real strategy involved
- New Economy (no more wheels, something much much better - micro managers can micro manage and macro managers can macro and once you see it, you will be mad for no one having come up with this obvious in hindsight system before)
- Civilization Builder (Make whatever civilization you want, assign ship designs, dialog, etc. to them and share them, the AI will use it all).
- Living galaxy (the lifeblood of the galaxy will be visible)
- Tons of other things
- New campaign (of course)
- New tech tree system

Like I said, it's basically a quasi-sequel disguised (and priced) as a DLC. We will be announcing it next month. Suffice to say, we think this expansion will raise the bar on what people will expect in their 4X games (not just space) and some of the features are things that will become expected in 4X I think as they are too obvious not to have them.

That's all for now.


Comments (Page 3)
on Dec 19, 2016

Thanks for the update on the BIG expansion! I have dabbled in GalCiv3 since Alpha, but without espionage and planetary invasion it just hasn't felt complete yet. When GalCiv2 hit version 2.0 it totally blew the game wide open for me. Hoping this expansion does the same for 3.

 

Will Terror Stars be coming back? 

on Dec 20, 2016

Thank you for continuing to talk with and inform the community of the game's progress; its great to be kept in the loop and these upcoming changes and additions sound great. Despite that, I just wanted to check in that all of our old/current ship designs, ship colours, added text (E. G. faction descriptions), FGs, BGs, and logos will still be usable in 2.x, as this line;


Like I said, it's basically a quasi-sequel

gave me pause. At any rate, hope you have a great festive period and thank you for your time.

on Dec 20, 2016

The galaxy size was the biggest blow to the game and I'm glad it's going to be restored. I just loved all the dead space in which it seemed like a huge endeavor to go from one side of the galaxy to the other. It made the logistics part of the game fun weighting in the great task of conquering a galaxy so far away. It made those first few turns in enemy territory so critical establishing a base of operations to continue support for the war. Even made deep range space stations so vital in the war effort.

(my normal game is the largest size map with tight clusters and low on habitable planets to make them more valuable)



As for future expansions are we going to get more super weapon options? The return of terror star perhaps or maybe even more deadly weaponry? After watching Rouge One I'm getting that itch for galactic genocide with a new fully operational battle station

on Dec 21, 2016

Honestly, I would like to see a system that lets us build super weapons in the ships designer if we wish to.

on Dec 23, 2016

Honestly I would like to have a way to overcome coercion. Something to overcome with economics, and morale. Taxes back. Maybe buildings, and ships requiring resources. Instead of finishing technologies from artifacts finding technologies you can't find anywhere else. Anomalies are to few on abundant now.

on Dec 23, 2016

The perfect idea for the planetary invasion:

  When you invade a planet, you open a game of Ashes of the Singularity, where the units you can use is limited by your research et and the number of units you can create is limited by the number of invasion ships you have used. For the planet defense, he numbers of unit limited by the population and with some pre-constructed defense buildings as the numbers of case didied to military thing.

 

A nice dream (and a real nigthmare for some poor peoples that may have been kidnaped to make it happen ). And in gameplay, it will probably put the time to do a game near of you can't finish a game between game changing patch.

 

Good holydays to all!

 

Eridalafar

 

PS: I know it is an interesting but also a realy crazy idea.

on Dec 24, 2016

A) What is a 'living galaxy?" Should I stop modding pulsars and wait for you?

@erischild: STRONGLY disagree on not supporting insane maps. 1.9 was partly designed on an insane map, and my pathetic little business laptop runs them just fine. YOU may not play big maps, but some of us do, and there is no reason to cut us out of support!

C) Whining: Frogboy's 'whining" is healthy self-criticism, and that ability to reflect on your goals and your progress is what makes Stardock such a great developer (that and listening to players). If "hurting the game" will help in the long run, do it! I whined before, and you made things better. Why not whine and make things better yourself?

Your 'whining' also lets us know that you are aware of problems in the game. If you tell me you are working on something that isnt working right, you win my patience. You have done LOT of that since returning to GC3. I just hope your team knows we appreciate them too!

D) Vertical strategies: I think I just wet myself...

on Dec 24, 2016

I only play insane maps ... although I must admit that I pratically never finish a game because at some point especially the star base management gets too repetitive and boring ...

Still I like the vastness of the galaxy, what is emphasized when having tight clusters.

In 1.9 I have one more management problem: shipyards and ships. I'm only at mid-size hulls, but until then the ships appear too cheap so that all my shipyards spam war ships every 1-3 turns and constructors in 1-2 turns and I have to do something with all those ships.

A solution would be to give players a game setting for the factor that determines how a larger hull gets more expensive than a smaller one (so if the factor is 2 a small hull would cost twice than a tiny hull, a mid-size hull would cost twice than a small hull and so on). But since large ships must be worth their expenses that should not lead to players building only smaller ships because they then get more fire power than when building one large ship of the same price. So with the cost also the space to fit components into could scale. Large ships should be able to destroy a fleet of smaller ships of the same technology level, price and weapon focus (meaning a beam/shield deadnaught should be able to win a fight against a fleet of beam/shield frigates of the same price and technology level).

To give the player a reason why he or she should build expensive large ships one could e. g. also make fleets modules that give a whole fleet more range or speed so large that they only fit in the largest hull types.

And one last time-consuming issue that I think I stated already in the past: since automated explorers don't give you a message when they find something interesting (a colonizable planet, a resource, an anomaly, a relic, a ship of a faction you are at war with, or: make it a setting which messages the player wants to see ) I have to move all explorers myself, because otherwise on insane maps the chance to miss something important is too big. And since 1.9 (or before?) automated explorers seem to not use up all their movement points, at least if I watch them But that is not sure, I would have to verify that. Because ship movement is so very choppy I can't see which route they take, they pratically teleport to their end position, so that may also be a delusion.

on Dec 27, 2016

I dont like how the weapons/ship sizes are done now. I think larger ships should have larger weapons that do more damage but are easier to avoid by small nimble ships so that you need a mix of ship sizes to handle different threats. 

I know thats what the different roles are supposed to accomplish but I dont think they really do it correctly. 

on Dec 27, 2016

dstjames

I dont like how the weapons/ship sizes are done now. I think larger ships should have larger weapons that do more damage but are easier to avoid by small nimble ships so that you need a mix of ship sizes to handle different threats. 

I know thats what the different roles are supposed to accomplish but I dont think they really do it correctly. 

Hm, a question to the modders: would it be possible to add to every weapon type a second version with more mass but also more firepower?

on Dec 27, 2016

lyssailcor


Quoting dstjames,

I dont like how the weapons/ship sizes are done now. I think larger ships should have larger weapons that do more damage but are easier to avoid by small nimble ships so that you need a mix of ship sizes to handle different threats. 

I know thats what the different roles are supposed to accomplish but I dont think they really do it correctly. 



Hm, a question to the modders: would it be possible to add to every weapon type a second version with more mass but also more firepower?

thats no problem, the problem would be to limit those weapons to bigger hull sizes

on Dec 27, 2016

Hey!

Thanks for the update Brad. 

GC3 hasn't really been on my plate to play much since about a year ago, but I'm excited about the changes and the work and it's definitely on my list of games to get to.  I had a blast playing it about a year ago when I had several weeks off and am looking fwd to the changes. 

Don't let anyone hassle you about DLC vs expansions vs whatever.  Consider it a compliment that people can personally heckle you..  So I'm going to heckle you and say that you guys just need to do whatever release makes sense game/studio wise..

cheers, and thanks again for the work/update.  It means a lot to me even though I don't get to play as much as I'd like to.

-tid242

on Dec 28, 2016

mortili


Quoting lyssailcor,






Quoting dstjames,



I dont like how the weapons/ship sizes are done now. I think larger ships should have larger weapons that do more damage but are easier to avoid by small nimble ships so that you need a mix of ship sizes to handle different threats. 

I know thats what the different roles are supposed to accomplish but I dont think they really do it correctly. 



Hm, a question to the modders: would it be possible to add to every weapon type a second version with more mass but also more firepower?



thats no problem, the problem would be to limit those weapons to bigger hull sizes

With that I could live when the number of weapons is relevant in the fighting algorithm (if every weapon can fire individually on an enemy ship). So if you would put a big weapon on a small ship you wouldn't be able to spread your fire that much.

What would be nice though is if bigger weapons had a smaller hit chance in relation to hull size / tactical speed. But perhaps that is possible to mod also?

on Dec 28, 2016

nope, unlike gc2 all weapons of one type are treated as one weapon, so they share the range, cooldown etc.

on Dec 28, 2016

mortili

nope, unlike gc2 all weapons of one type are treated as one weapon, so they share the range, cooldown etc.

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